The Uniontown Area School District is asking the city of Uniontown to resolve an issue with its contracted trash collector regarding irregular garbage pickup that has occurred at district schools for two years.
School officials have reported that Advanced Disposal, which is contracted to collect garbage city-wide, has provided sporadic pick-up services at the district’s three city schools — Ben Franklin, Lafayette and Uniontown Area High School — dating to 2017, often resulting in an overflow of garbage at the schools.
District solicitor Michael Brungo said he sent a letter advising the city that if the issue cannot be addressed, the district would “take necessary steps to rectify the situation and essentially seek reimbursement for (district) costs from either the city or the contractor.”
That could include the district contracting another company to haul the garbage from the schools, said district Superintendent Dr. Charles Machesky.
“We’re two years into this fighting this battle, and we’re bound by having (Advanced) because the city has a contract, and nobody else other than Advanced can pick up garbage in the city,” said Machesky, adding that personnel in the district’s buildings and ground department had made repeated attempts throughout last school year to correct the problem through contact with the city.
Uniontown City Clerk Kim Marshall said the city has tried to resolve the situation, action which included contacting Advanced with the district’s complaints and sending the waste company a listing of missed pickups provided by the district. Marshall said Advanced provided reasons for a small number of the missed pickups before correspondence between the city and the contractor ended without further explanation.
After sending a formal letter to the city, Brungo said he was contacted last week by a city representative who indicated he would look into the matter and work with the school district to address the concern. Brungo provided the city “a significant amount” of information collected by district administrators containing a record of days when garbage collection did not occur at the schools.
“The problem that would result is that if there wasn’t pickup in a given day, then the next day there would be excessive garbage and no place to put it because the bins would already be full,” said Brungo.
Brungo said while under normal circumstances the school district does not have the ability to contract a trash collector, the district should be able to seek a replacement contractor in such an extraordinary situation in which obligations for a contracted service are not being fulfilled for a public entity operating within city limits.